Many of the Paleo recipes I used over the last two weeks called for vegetables I normally skip or use in small amounts, due to their high sugar/carb count. I think that’s what kicked my cravings into high gear this past week. I never would have guessed onions, carrots and sweet potatoes are my new trigger foods.
Let me say up front that the issue is more my choice of recipes and not the Paleo diet. I chose recipes that sounded the most appealing. I made the mistake of not running the recipes through My Fitness Pal to get the carb counts before going to the grocery store. It’s clearly a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. The meals sounded so appealing and healthy (which they are) I didn’t see any consequences to adding-in foods with higher carb counts than what I normally ate.
Since the challenge began two weeks ago, I’ve eaten more carrots, sweet potatoes, fruit and onions than I have over the last 6 months.
When I started my weight loss journey, I cut back or eliminated from my diet any produce high in sugar and carbs. It was a drastic step, but I needed to get my insulin levels under control to shed the weight. Up until last October, I’d limited myself to 20-25g of carbs a day. Once I lost 75 pounds and started lifting weights, I slowly began adding the forbidden produce and some grains back into my diet.
Yes, it increased my daily carb count from 20g/day to as high as 50g/day. But I still lost weight and felt no cravings because the increase was gradual. My body adjusted to the changes fairly easily. But when I injured my knee and couldn’t work out as much, I began adjusting my carbs back down to 20g/day.
Here’s where it gets silly: while in the middle of reducing my carbs to account for my lack of exercise, I began the 30-Day Paleo Challenge. While the foods on Paleo are low carb, the recipes I chose had a higher carb count than my normal meals. Without thinking, I’d picked the recipes that use a large amount of the very produce I’d been slowly weaning myself off of. Talk about boneheaded. I was like an insulin yoyo, all over the place. The diversity of foods and the large serving sizes on Paleo wasn’t helping the situation.
For example, the chili recipe I followed called for two medium red onions.
That’s a lot of onion and carbs – 22g, to be exact. Because onions have a high carb count, I normally use a quarter of single small onion in my chili. The recipe also calls for using both fresh and canned tomatoes. That added 30g of carbs. Don’t get me wrong, the chili was delicious, but it tasted sweeter than my concoctions. It ended up being 15g of carbs per serving vs 8g of my own chili recipe.
The Paleo recipes I picked over the last 2 weeks called for a lot of onions, carrots (7g/carrot), sweet potatoes (41g/potato) and fruit. It’s no wonder my sweet-tooth kicked in.
Going forward with the challenge, I need to take more care in planning out my meals. I’m still going to use Paleo recipes, but I’ll take more care in altering as needed to lower the carb count and cut the risk of setting off my cravings.
Weight loss: it really does come down to planning.